How can I be a nurse? What do I have to do?

Hi, I'm 13 and I've wanted to be a nurse ever since I was little. I'm in the second year of secondary school, and we'll be choosing our subjects in February. I want to get a bit of a head start and choose the right subjects that will lead me on the track to becoming a RN nurse.

I live in Scotland, so please answer relevantly. I would also appreciate people who are nurses to tell me exactly what it is like, whether you work in a nursing home or a hospital.

First of all, what courses do I need to take at college? And do I HAVE to go to university to become a nurse? How long does it take roughly to become one? Can you get an apprenticeship? (That might sound stupid but I really have no idea) Do you get placements at nursing homes and such, and the other nurses will help you?

What subjects will I need to take at school? Also, do you have to be very smart to be a nurse? Because I'm really not very smart…

10 points for best answer, thank you 🙂

Wow that's a lot of question. You do seem to be very interested. Well I'm from Scotland so I know how it works. I will try to answer all your questions.

Registered nurses (adult) care for sick patients in hospital or the community. They assess patients’ physical and emotional needs, and provide the care and support the patients need.

You could be:

-working out care plans for patients

-recording patients’ temperatures, blood pressures and respiration rates

-giving injections, cleaning and dressing wounds, fixing drips and blood transfusions, carrying out specific procedures such as cervical smear tests

-assisting at operations and inserting and removing stitches

-doing routine work on the ward, such as bed making

-discussing patients’ progress with doctors and with relatives

-keeping records of patients’ treatment and progress

-keeping close watch over patients in intensive care and adjusting when necessary the machinery which supports them

-carrying out emergency work, such as resuscitation.

Conditions (where? when?)

-You would work in a hospital, a health centre or a doctors’ surgery.

-You might have to work shifts, including evenings, nights, weekends and public holidays.

-You would wear a uniform and sometimes protective clothing.

-There would be some heavy lifting of patients.

-You would have to be able to deal with blood, vomit, urine and excrement.

-You might be able to work part time.

Getting In

-To become a registered nurse you need to take a 3-4 year degree in nursing. Entry requirements 2-4 Highers, preferably including English and a science subject.

An Access to nursing course may also give entry. However, always check that the course is accepted by the college or university you want to go to before you apply.

-If you have a degree in a biological or behavioural science, you can apply for a shortened course.

-You must have an enhanced disclosure from Disclosure Scotland, to show that you are suitable for this type of work.

-You should be fit – there is a medical examination. You must provide evidence that you do not have, and have been immunised against, Hepatitis B.

-When you complete your training you must register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

-It is helpful to have some experience of care work.

-Financial support is available from the Nursing and Midwifery Bursary Section of the Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

Most registered nurses work for the National Health Service (NHS). You could also work with a nursing agency, hospice, in a private hospital or nursing home, with the armed services or in a prison.

What Does It Take?

You should be:

-able to communicate with people from a wide range of backgrounds

-very observant and able to act on your own initiative

-patient and tactful

-willing to take responsibility

-able to assess what is best for the patient

-flexible to multitask

-a good teamworker

-confident to make decisions

-able to remain calm in stressful situations.